The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the internet security industry continues to raise everyone’s awareness regarding the importance of cybersecurity.
Trump urges Americans to use best practices in online security
President Donald Trump declared October as the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), a joint effort by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the DHS and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).
“During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we recognize that protecting cyberspace is essential to our national security and economic stability… As we continue working to fortify our country’s cybersecurity infrastructure, it is imperative that all Americans use best practices in online security…I urge all citizens to spread awareness on ways they can mitigate risks, safeguard personal and professional data, and contribute to the safety and prosperity of our Nation,” said Trump.
Erin Shepley, the team leader for NCSAM at CISA said the theme for this year’s campaign is “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.” As part of the campaign, the agency released a NCSAM tool kit that included a trivia games to help people increase their knowledge about cybersecurity.
During a recent interview with Federal News Network, Shepley explained that the tool kit is great for those who need to understand the best steps to secure their data.
CISA Director Christopher Krebbs, said, “Every one of us has a seemingly ever-expanding digital footprint – across a range of devices and accounts, at home, at work, or at school and locking down that footprint is a never-ending job.”
He added that their goal is to “raise our collective security to the next level” by focusing on a handful of simple steps” everyone can take and use.
Meanwhile, NCSA Executive Director Kevin Coleman, commented, “As cyberattacks are becoming more common, NCSAM is a great opportunity for businesses to enhance their commitment to cybersecurity with their employees and customers.”
NCSA together with CISA and other partners such as Webroot, an internet security software provider for consumers, engage internet users and distributed campaign materials to remind them about the importance of being cyber smart.
Webroot used a creative and unconventional awareness campaign on cybersecurity. The company sought the help of Adzze, an advertising startup in New York City, to spread cybersecurity messages using pizza boxes and door hangers.
Be Cyber Smart: Tips to Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.
Below are the following reminders from CISA and NCSA to help everyone protect their data online and be cyber smart.
- Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media and any other service that requires logging in.
- Shake up your passphrase protocol. Consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. Get creative and customize your standard passphrase for different sites, which can prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passphrase for each of your accounts.
- If you connect, you must protect. Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device or other network devices, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser and operating systems. Sign up for automatic updates, if you can, and protect your devices with antivirus software.
- Play hard to get with strangers. Cybercriminals use phishing tactics, hoping to fool their victims. If you’re unsure who an email or message is from ̶ even if the details appear accurate ̶ or if the email looks “phishy,” do not respond and do not click on any links or attachments found in that email. When available use the “junk” or “block” option to no longer receive messages from a particular sender.
- Never click and tell. Limit what information you post on social media ̶ from personal addresses to where you like to grab coffee. What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all cybercriminals need to know to target you, your loved ones and your physical belongings ̶ online and in the physical world. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers and passphrases private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday and even vacation plans. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are – and where you aren’t – at any given time.
- Keep tabs on your apps. Most connected appliances, toys and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved —gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting your identity and privacy at risk. Check your app permissions and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you don’t need or no longer use. Learn to just say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense. Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources.
- Stay protected while connected. Before you connect to any public Wi-Fi be certain to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. If you do use an unsecured public access point, practice good cyber hygiene by avoiding sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passphrases or credit card numbers. Your personal hotspot is a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi. Only use sites that begin with “https://” when shopping or banking online.